The Clock Face
You and your partner stand at an arm's length in front of each other and ask your partner to step directly forward into a right Dragon Stance (Lung Shih), and as he does so he must aim a straight arm open hand blow directly at your chin.
- As the blow comes towards you, step directly back with your left leg, and put about ninety per cent of your weight on to it, bending the left knee slightly. At the same time turn your right toes to the left, and also turn the body so that it faces to the left. You should now be in Leopard Stance and this is the stance that you will move into in all our Clock Face evasion movements. As you maintain the majority of your weight on your left leg, ensure that you keep your body upright. Both you and your partner now move back to the original starting position. He does this by moving his right foot back, and you move your left foot forward till it is alongside your right foot, turning your body to the right slightly so that you once again face your partner, and you will find yourself back to the neutral starting point.
- As he moves forward again into right Dragon Stance, and strikes again at your chin, this time step diagonally back with your left leg, bending the left knee and placing your body weight upon it. Then both of you move back to your starting positions.
- Again he steps forward and strikes at your chin. Now you must step directly to your left, repeating the action for Leopard Stance by bending the left knee and placing your body weight on to the left leg. Then once again you both retire to your neutral starting position.
- He strikes once more as he steps into his Dragon Stance. This time you step diagonally forward with your left foot, placing your weight upon it and bending the left knee, but this time also turn your shoulders to the right, so that you are parallel with your partner's arm. Then you once again return to the neutral starting point, and your partner does the same.
- As he strikes at your chin again, this time you step diagonally forward with your right foot, bending the right knee and placing your weight onto the right leg. Turn your shoulders to the left so that you once again face your partner's arm. Then return back to the starting position.
- He strikes at you once more, and you now step directly to your right with your right foot, bending your right knee, and placing your weight onto the right leg. Then you both return to your starting positions.
- Once again he aims a blow at your chin and this time you step diagonally backwards with your right foot, placing your weight upon it as you bend your right knee. Turn your body slightly to the right, and also turn your left foot a little to your right, so that you are in a correct Leopard stance. Both of you now return to your starting positions.
- As the eighth blow comes towards you, turn your body to the right, and step back a pace with your right foot, bending the right knee, and placing your body weight onto your right leg. Correct the angle of your left foot by moving your left toes to your right. Now you both return to the neutral starting position.
That is the basic sequence of the eight evasion movements of the Clock Face and now it is your turn to strike towards your partner's chin, and he will move into those eight different directions, ensuring that he evades your blow as you have just done. Both of you must practise these over and over again until all your movements become light, flexible, supple and fast. Once you have acquired this dexterity, lightness and swiftness, then try the next stage.}
Both of you must practise the same sequence of the eight basic movements, but this time you alternate your striking and your evasion like this:
Your partner strikes, and you move into position No. 1, and then you both move back to the starting positions. Now this time you strike at your partner, and he moves into position No. 1, and then you both move back to your starting positions. He now strikes at you, and you move into position No. 2, and then you both return to the neutral position. Now you strike at your partner, and he moves into position No. 2 and you both go back to the starting positions.
This goes on until the basic eight directions of evasion have been accomplished smoothly and without fault. Don't let up with your training, and practise it time and time again until you have every movement perfect, fluent, smooth, soft and speedy. It is also a very good idea to reverse the complete sequence and practise it in an anti-clockwise direction, so that you start with your right foot movements, then follow them with your left foot movements for the last four directions. This will help to build up your flexibility, to the left and to the right. Having really conquered this stage, then we can go on to the next stage of progression, using the same evasion exercise.
Advanced Alternative Striking
This third stage incorporates the alternative striking principle, but this time you evade each other's blows by stepping out in any of the eight directions as you choose. Whilst you step to any of the prescribed eight directions, you do not have to work to the pre-arranged sequence. Do not jump too quickly into this stage, make absolutely sure that you have the two previous stages off perfectly first, then this stage will hold no handicaps, and you will find it quite easy to do.
Fourth Stage: Rollaways
Once you have conquered the previous three stages, and can now move lightly whilst still maintaining your balance at all times, then, and only then, should you start to practise this stage which you can call 'alternative striking but from the new position', wherever the new position might be. Not only do you strike from the new position that you have stepped into by evading his blow, but instead of keeping to the format of the Clock Face, you can now move and strike from any of those eight positions. In other words, once you move into your evasion, irrespective of the angle created by your own personal movement, you now strike at your partner from the position that you have chosen. Your partner must, in turn, move into any one of the eight positions or angles, to evade your strike.